COP 25 (4)
At COP 25, African CSOs Demand Ambitious Decisions that Reflect Africa’s Special Circumstances and Needs and is Commensurate with Climate CrisisWritten by PACJA
Madrid, 3rd Dec. 2019--African civil society organizations (CSOs) representing more than 40 counties, under Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), are demanding r an accelerated process and ambitious decisions at UNFCCC COP25. The decisions should reflect Africa as a region with special needs and circumstances. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report shows that if the current trajectory continues, Africa will warm 1.5 times more than the global mean average temperature; with parts of Africa already experiencing 2ºC-warming, way higher than the indicated 1.5º C. Parties should, therefore, take a decision recognizing these special circumstances and needs for Africa that go with the urgent need for finance, emergency response and technology development.
Africa civil society therefore specifically demands the following:
1. Enhanced Emission Reduction through Ambitious NDCs that reflect Climate Crisis
Call for immediate enhanced efforts in greenhouse gas emission reductions as per the best available science. Developed country Parties should use the obligation of reviewing the NDCs in 2020 to ambitiously enhance their mitigation commitments to reach the required target of reducing half of the current emission levels by 2030 to cap global average warming at 1.5º C as stipulated in the recently published UNEP Emission Gap Report 2019. Further stress that the NDCs should include all elements and not just mitigation-centric and have a five years’ timeframe that is aligned with the global stock-take.
2. Fulfil previous and scale-up new Climate Finance Commitments to fund adaptation
Africa civil society reiterates that adaptation financing remains a priority for African countries. Developed country Parties shall provide enhanced, predictable, adequate and grant-based climate finance to developing country Parties to adapt to adverse climate change impacts. Currently, adaptation is only taking a quarter of global climate finance from developed to developing countries while mitigation taking over 60 percent. African CSOs emphasize the urgency of a reliable source of finance for the Adaptation Fund, which will provide decent financial resources and be sustainable. Also, maintain the current number and composition of the Fund Board taking into account fair and balanced representation among identified groups.
Further emphasize that the process to initiate setting of a new collective quantified climate finance goal from a floor of USD 100 billion per year in 2020 to consider the needs and priorities of developing countries, be science-informed and draw lessons from the experience of pre-2020 commitments. Developed country Parties should continue to fulfil their pre-2020 climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year during the period.
3. Urgent Review, Financing and Implementation of the Loss and Damage Mechanism
The Africa civil society stresses the urgency to develop a clear means of implementation and operationalize the Warsaw International Mechanism on loss and damage. This include financing for ongoing and incurred loss and damage, and adequate financing to implement the work plan of the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage Executive Committee. Loss and damage represents an outstanding economic and political challenge and a great concern; therefore, there is urgent need to avert, minimize and address these impacts through comprehensive risk management approaches – early warning systems, measures to enhance recovery and rehabilitation and build back and forward better, social protection instruments, including social safety nets, and transformational approaches.
4. Develop robust social and environmental guidelines for all International Corporations and carbon market mechanisms in respect to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
African civil society organizations call for robust social and environmental guidelines for all carbon market mechanisms to ensure that they do not create or lead to adverse conditions that impact the livelihoods of African local communities or prevent the communities from becoming climate resilient. Parties must advance the human rights guidelines from the element to promote sustainable development and ensure environmental integrity and transparency. This should be done in line with the Paris Agreement’s preamble that states all climate actions shall, inter alia, respect and promote human rights – the right to health, gender equality and women’s empowerment, indigenous people and development.
5. Actions to Implement the Gender Action Plan
The Africa civil society calls upon Parties to take action to implement the activities under the Gender Action Plan in order to strengthen consideration of gender aspects in climate-related activities. African women and young people are most at risk from impacts of extreme weather. We need to be fully aware of traditional roles women and men, and recognize that women are impacted most by climate change yet they are usually underrepresented in climate change negotiations and decision making. Therefore, there should be allocation of adequate financial and human resources to build the needed capacity on gender dimensions of climate policy and action at national level and to comply with the requirements on gender under the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines.
Africa has a long way to go in the realisation of the strategies to implement the Paris Agreement, according to preliminary results of a research done by a Pan-African organisation in eight African countries, and which were yesterday released on the side lines of the COP25.
This was the statement made by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director Mithika Mwenda at the opening of a side event in Madrid, Spain.
Salina Cheserem Sanou, a climate justice campaigner, shared the preliminary findings of the research done in Botswana, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, at a side event dubbed “Africa Readying for the Paris Agreement”.
Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria were found to be at the same level on “Coherence Between Sector Policies and Climate Compatible Development” with each scoring 2.4 out of a maximum possible 3.0. Zambia came fourth with 2.2, followed by Tanzania at 2.0 and Corte d’ Voire at 1.4. Botswana and Gabon tied at the bottom with 1.0 points.
On climate-sensitive sector policies, the African economies tested were found to align differently with adaptation, mitigation and development; while the food and agriculture sector development policies were framed as development policies, scoring “high alignment”.
Sustainability with development, the forest and wildlife policies were set up as mitigation policies, scoring “limited alignment” with adaptation, and “partial alignment” with development.
“Africa is a unique and a special needs and circumstances region in terms of vulnerability, resilience and capacity building; finance, and also monitoring and reporting of international commitments,” said Ms Sanou.
The research recommends better alignment of sector policies with adaptation, the need to address lacking inter-agency and inter-ministerial approaches, and strengthening of partnerships among stakeholders in support of climate change initiatives.
Speaker after speaker addressing the side event at the COP25 conference in Madrid, yesterday, pushed for more home-made plans and strategies in the achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), whose implementation is key in achievement of the Paris Agreement.
The NDCs outline interventions each nation intends to use to reduce carbon emission. “Africa should have tailor-made tools for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and NDCs,” said Sanou, adding that African nations should not wait until March 2020 to start reviews of the NDCs, to prevent rushing over them as happened with the initial development process.
James Murombedzi, a senior climate governance expert at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, regretted that African countries were spending up to 9 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on the NDCs, yet that was not catered for in their national budgets. “This is causing a budget crisis in many African nations,” said Dr Murombezi.
The NDCs have further been viewed as overly ambitious. “Financing must be made available for the conditional and overly ambitious NDCs to be actualised. Yet financing has not been forthcoming from the heavy carbon emitters, calling for proper review and meaningful resource mobilisation for the global goal to keep temperature rise below 1.5ºC to be realised,” said Charles Mwangi, a climate enthusiast and observer at the COP25.
The push now is for heavy emitters to increase their ambition.
Many countries are behind schedule in the achievement of the pre-2020 strategies that focussed on finance, capacity building and technology transfer. These were supposed to enable start of implementation after June next year, but this period will instead focus on review of the NDCs.
The Paris Agreement outlined and expects preparation, communication and maintenance of successive NDCs to meet set objectives.
This year’s UNEP Emission Gap Report 2019 shows that with the current commitments, there will be an increase of more than 3.2ºC of average global temperature rise.
Speaking at the side event yesterday, Charles Mutai, a Director Climate Change, State Department of Environment, and who is also the chair of the Kenyan delegation in Madrid, outlined the country’s effort to achieve its NDCs commitments. Dr Mutai said devolution in Kenya would make it easier to achieve the NDCs, as many of the 47 counties had allocated between 1 per cent and 3 per cent to tackling the climate crisis.
Roger Nkodo Dang, the President of the Pan African Parliament, focused on energy. “We are being discouraged from exploiting petroleum and transition to clean energy; but at what cost to our development,” he posed.
This also raised the question on the seriousness with which African Governments and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) crying foul now, handle matters that have huge ramifications in their operations. “Africans left the formulation (of NDCs) work to politicians. We do not read,” said Prof Dr Muaiwia Shaddad of Sudan
He was, however, countered by Mithika Mwenda, who insisted that the ills some African nations may have done should not stop pursuit of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. “The push must go on,” Mithika said.
“Many African countries are behind in implementation of their NDCs because they are a result of consultants’ work… consultants who have no clue what the reality on the ground is. Governments must remember we have adequate capacity for proposal and other document writing in Africa,” said Mwanahamisi Singano of FEMNET, an African women's development network.
Charles Tanui, an observer at the COP25, called for support of civil society organisation to be involved in research and formulation of key strategies, especially during review of the NDCs.
The side event was organised by Kenya, Ivory Coast and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.
December 4, Madrid, Spain
Africa is pushing harder to have it perceived and treated as a special case in relation to climate funding. Some of the suggestions coming up are a walk-out or boycott, if diplomacy refuses to work.
Speakers at a meeting between the African Group of Negotiators chair Mohamed Nasr and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) today said the continent had made the same calls over and over, but action has not been forthcoming.
Mr Nasr, who is also the appealed for help to push for recognition of Africa’s special needs and circumstances, citing extreme poverty, limited education as well as poor health as some of the indicators and some of the issues driving Africa to the edge.
The meeting Wednesday was at this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP25) Ifema venue in Madrid, Spain.
Already, COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, who is also the Minister for Environment of Chile, in her opening remarks on Monday, said the issue raised by Africa would not be in the conference’s agenda.
It took protests from Egypt, Tanzania, Ghana and several representatives of some other African countries for her to say the request could be discussed, though informally.
Mr Nasr, in his address to the team, had emphasized the need for Africa to be heard, saying the calls for change of status for the whole continent were based on scientific research findings. We are not cry-babies, and are not just making noise. People are dying pin Africa, and something can be done by the people who contribute more to the global warming,” said Nasr.
It was not immediately clear by the time of Nasr’s meeting with the CSOs when the informal discussion to deliberate on Africa’s push for change of status would be.
Mithika Mwenda, a Kenyan negotiator, proposed change of tack if the world was not heeding to the cries of the continent.
“If they cannot see our sufferings, we must make them see. Why should we continue to lose our people in preventable deaths when the people behind the climate crisis are comfortable?” asked Mwenda.
Addressing the press earlier, the African Civil Society Organisations read out the continent’s position, stating clearly the different thematic areas they needed focus on in terms of financial aid, and what they needed done.
The press conference addressed by Augustine Njamnshi of the Africa Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA), Mwanahamisi Hamadi of FEMNET, Fazal Issa of Sokoine (Tanzania), and Tracy Sonny of the Botswana Climate Change Network.
Kone Dognon, who chairs the Agriculture committee at the Pan African Parliament, also addressed the press.
The CSOs want enhanced emission reduction through ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that reflect the magnitude of the climate crisis, fulfilment of previous and scale-up of new climate finance commitments to fund adaptation, as well as development of robust social and environmental guidelines for all international corporations and carbon market mechanisms in respect to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
Besides, the CSOs, led by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, which is headquartered in Kenya, called for actions to implement the gender action plan and urgent review, financing and implementation of the loss and damage mechanism.
Also interested in the special case status is the Arab bloc and some Latin America countries.
Madrid, Spain, 1 Dec 2019—A pre-COP 25 event hosted by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has today adopted an African civil society position calling for a holistic ambition from Parties, particularly rich countries, ahead of the annual climate change summit (COP 25), which opens in Madrid, Spain on Monday 2 December 2019.
Among other things, participants pressed for the recognition of Africa’s special circumstances, notably its higher exposure to devastations from climate change, and enhanced climate change action plans (NDCs) from the biggest emitters that aim at significant emission reductions.
Other positions adopted include a call for robust and environmental guidelines for international cooperation and carbon markets; a review of the Warsaw international mechanism on loss and damage to have a clear means of implementation, especially for emergency response in Africa; and a demand for scaled-up finance and capacity building to meet the climate change adaptation challenge the continent faces.
Hoping to influence negotiations at multiple levels, African CSOs also asked for the adoption of common timeframes for a harmonious evaluation of NDCs and pay special attention to the gender undertones of climate action.
The UNFCCC secretariat expects COP25 to be a “launchpad for significantly more climate ambition.” Current commitments, particularly from rich countries, fall short of the level of emission cuts required to slow global warming and avert a climate breakdown.
“The New York Climate Summit was revealing in many regards,” PACJA said in a position statement. “It did not only show that the smaller developing countries are determined to contribute to the fight against climate change, but that they are even willing to do more (sacrificially) to make sure that climate change remains in the multilateral space and top on the agenda.
“Seventy or so countries that have indicated their willingness to enhance their ambition are mostly small or medium countries. This suggests that the big emitters have still not come to the table with their enhanced commitments.”
On a special status for Africa, the statement noted:
“Climate change is affecting Africa disproportionately. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report shows that if we stay on the current trajectory, Africa will warm 1.5 times faster than the global mean. Furthermore, the special IPCC report indicates that parts of Africa are already very vulnerable to climate change and already experiencing a 2-degree Celsius warming, way higher than the 1.5 degrees as previously thought. Yet Africa remains the least capable to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change.
“We call on parties to take a decision recognizing these special circumstances and needs that go with them in terms of finance, emergency response and technology development.”
Led by PACJA, African civil society organizations are working with the African Group of Negotiators and other partners to press for a summit outcome that takes into account the needs of the continent.